Monday, October 25, 2010

a review

The past few weeks have been rough going. Perhaps it's the transition into a new season, perhaps the move from my parents' house to our new apartment in New Bedford. I can feel calmness creeping in, and I'm thankful for that. I feel grateful for my family and friends (and for you, lovely readers) for offering perspective and love. 

Several weeks ago, I learned that Rosie Molinary would launch a blog tour to publicize her newest book, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.  Now, I adore Rosie. We have never met, but I feel pretty confident that we're kindred spirits,  à la Anne Shirley and Diana Barry. Receive a copy of Beautiful You from the publisher and write a review on Fancy Pantalons? Sign me up, please.


With my first therapy appointment scheduled for later this week, I've been feeling energized to start healing my tendency toward anxiety. And to start just feeling better. I've been reading Don't Panic: Taking Control of Panic Attacks by R. Reid Wilson, Ph.D., and I find that much of what he advises penetrates directly to the core of not just my anxiety but also my fears about my body, my relationships, my future, all of it. 

Helping someone face panic when he or she has adopted a depressed attitude is a difficult task, for obvious reasons. If I believe I am basically inadequate, that nothing ever really changes in my life, that tomorrow will be about the same as yesterday, then why should I bother considering alternatives to my present state of affairs? There seems to be no point.
Thanks for telling it to me straight, Dr. Wilson. And now please get out of my head.
There are two ways to begin changing this depressive attitude. The first is to directly wrestle with your negative beliefs: to listen to how you state those beliefs in your mind, to learn how those statements influence your actions, and then to explore other attitudes that might support your goals. The second way is to begin to change your activities even before you change your attitude. Try some specific, small activities, without needing to believe they will help you. Change your patterns of behavior during the day, alter your routine, do some things that you imagine someone else might consider "good for you."
Change your activities before you change your attitude. It's so simple, but (for me, at least) utterly transformative. Even if I dig in my feet, thinking things will never change, that the fog will never lift, that the void will never be filled, I can take steps to make myself feel better.


And thus I come to the principal point of this post. Beautiful You is real, and completely unpretentious. I like that I can pick it up whenever I feel like it, read one page or read twelve. And I like that it makes me feel that a more peaceful place is within reach. I think the most glowing recommendation I can make about a book of the self-help persuasion is that I can read it -- and glean wisdom from it -- even when I'm down in the dumps.

There are some days when suggestions like # 246, "Create an Inspiration Board" or #102, "Remember That Your Body is a Blessing" are just what the doctor ordered. When you're rejuvenated, brimming with the desire to be better to yourself. And there are other days when that energy is fleeting, and the very best you can do is pour yourself a cup of chamomile tea, collapse on the couch, and just breathe. And that's just fine. And you know what else? You can check off #291 and #285.


  1. what an incredibly creative, personal review, fancy p. i think you and rosie might be kindred spirits, too, and i consider myself wildly blessed to know you both.

    glad you're back. and i'd love to hear about how things are going. phone/skype date soon?

  2. "Change your activities before you change your attitude. It's so simple, but (for me, at least) utterly transformative." I've just been working with this principle for the last week or two and I'm finding it a lot more helpful than I thought possible, too. I always think I have to suss everything out internally before it will pay to move things around in the outside world, but I, like you, am learning that sometimes it pays to do something before, or at least during, all the analysis. Great post.